I’ve been playing Fantasy Football for three years now. In the first few years I had no trouble making the playoffs. I did very well…until the playoffs. That’s when my players all tanked and my teams imploded like Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losing 9-0 to the New Orleans Saints. No TDs. No points. A big, fat zero. 2021. UGH!
You draft what you think is a solid roster with popular veteran players. You’re filled with hope for a whole new season of Fantasy Football. Being fifth in the draft, I’m pumped for the first round. In most mock drafts, I’m continuously snagging Tennessee Titans star running back Derek Henry. All that changes when the official draft takes place. Someone else grabs King Henry, so I pick Alvin Kamara.
Your Roster Looks Good at least on paper (or the app)
Immediately after your draft you lose one of your running backs to a season ending ankle injury and the season hasn’t started yet. I lose Baltimore Ravens Gus Edwards. So I replace him with Ronald Jones who gives me negative yardage the first week. That just won’t work.
Last year I was fighting for third place in the main playoffs when my opponent had Kamara. Kamara had six touchdowns in one game. So, I figured if I had the chance to pick Kamara up he’d give me some karma. Kamara for karma. Kamara starts out okay, but then gets hurt and I’m without him for four weeks, Weeks 10 – 14.
The Waiver Wire
You hope you won’t be relying on it, but it may be your weekly necessity. You’re trying to figure out who’s producing and who’s not. Sometimes you discover gold. After hearing some hype about Cordarelle Patterson, I pick him up. He’s a great addition as both a running back and wide receiver. He produces consistently until the Falcons stop using him the same way.
Timing is Everything
Sometimes you pick up potentially a fantastic player, but things don’t click for them until after you drop them. Amon Ra St. John is a WR on the Detroit Lions I pick up and play in the Flex position for Week 6. He gives me 7 points. I drop him. He blows up later in the season. I pick him up again. My big dilemma in Week 15 is to play either my “consistent” player, Las Vegas Raiders WR, Henry Renfrow playing the Cleveland Browns or St. Brown against the Arizona Cardinals. I play Renfrow and he gives me 4 points. How many points does St. Brown get? 19.50. By Week 15 Amon Ra St. Brown is the Lions’ go to receiver. It doesn’t matter who the QB is for the Lions, Jared Goff or Tim Boyle. St. Brown is a force of nature.
You should be looking ahead to see what backup players you’ll need before your big players go on bye or it’s bye-bye. Week six is brutal. I will be without Kamara, Patterson and TE George Kittle. So, I pick up Alex Collins and AJ Dillon. And Dalton Schultz ends up being a great pickup as Kittle goes on IR.
Time to Panic?
In Week four, Tom Brady only makes 11 points. What? Not the G.O.A.T.? Well, I panic and play Sam Darnold the following week. Darnold started the season pretty solid. Miami’s defense has been stepping up, so I refrain from playing Brady. Brady ends up with a whopping 37 points. I drop Darnold who reverted to his old ways and woes.
Veterans Not Producing
After a few weeks, I drop Juju Smith-Schuster. A few weeks later I find myself dropping injury-stricken Julio Jones. Julio scored his first touchdown with the Titans and this season in Week 18. 18! Another wide receiver I drafted who drove me to pull out my hair is DK Metcalf. He had a few good games to start, but Russell Wilson had problems finding DK. This connection got worse when Wilson was out with a bad finger. When Wilson returns, they don’t get back on track until Week 17 when I’m out of the playoff picture. DK get three TDs in Week 17. THREE!!!
Don’t Blame the Analysts
Week five. A killer. Not only do I play Darnold over Brady, but I play Van Jefferson over DK Metcalf. My record is 1-3. I’m desperate! Every week I watch and listen to a handful of various fantasy football analysts. My biggest dilemma is playing Van Jefferson or DK Metcalf. Seattle plays the LA Rams, known for having a great defense. This analyst who shall rename nameless suggests that Jalen Ramsey usually covers DK quite well. So, I take this analyst’s advice to sit DK Metcalf and play Van Jefferson instead. Jefferson ends up with only two points. DK has a whopping 24 points! It’s unfortunate.
Any Given Sunday
It’s even more unfortunate that I went off a bit on this analyst. I’m not proud of that. I realize later on that these analysts can only make suggestions on who to start or sit. You can have all the history and stats on players and who they’re playing against, but you sort of have to throw that all out at kickoff. Because it’s any given Sunday or Monday or Thursday. Hell, because of Covid this year we’ve had to endure Tuesday Night Football. In the end, you’re the one starting or sitting players. You can’t predict the mood of the players or radical plays attempted by coaches. This year especially has been incredibly unpredictable. Bad teams beating good teams. When Josh Allen of the Jacksonville Jaguars sacks Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, you discover that anything can happen. The impossible becomes possible.
Injuries, Injuries, Injuries
Losing Gus Edwards was an omen for my season. In Week 7, I’m excited to watch the Browns play the Broncos after picking up Donovan Peoples-Jones. But as the start of the game nears, the female broadcaster on the field announces that Donovan has a groin issue and most likely not playing. With a minute before the game starting, I frantically try to switch wide receivers, but the window to make changes has passed and I end up with a goose egg for him. It would be nice if more can be done to alert fantasy managers of players suddenly not playing if there’s time to do so.
Missed Field Goals anyone?
I did not have this issue so much. I used a handful of different field goal kickers. But damn! 2021 was a horrendous year for kickers.
Lucy talks Charlie into kicking the football. After all, the kickoff is a Thanksgiving tradition. Does Lucy have a different interpretation of tradition?
Perhaps players reaching 25 points one week and getting 5 points the next week are not the best players in the long run.
My losses were often by a few points. In our league in 2021, there weren’t many points separating winners from losers. And of course our champion had breakout running back Jonathon Taylor.
Don’t be one of those players who gives up and doesn’t set your lineup! PLAY ON!
That’s the point. Whether you’re losing or winning, find a way to enjoy the chaos, I mean, madness, I mean, the FUN! When I realized I had no chance to even make the playoffs, I shrugged it all off. Oh, well. There’s always next year, right? I had a blast during my Consolidation Semifinal matchup. One of the best reasons to play fantasy football is when your favorite team is one of if not the worst during that season. Oh, Giants. Heal your bodies, brains and your hearts. I may be a NY Giants fan, but I live in Los Angeles. So, it was a lot of fun cheering on both replacement running backs, Sony Michel on the Rams and Justin Jackson on the Chargers in Week 17.
Players Can Impact Lives
Players on your fantasy team can have long lasting effects too. Last season, as I mentioned earlier, my opponent had Alvin Kamara who scored SIX TDs!!!!!! I would need a miracle to come back and win towards the end of that weekend.
My dad was watching the games with me that Sunday, December 27, 2020. He didn’t play fantasy, but knew football and sports in general more than most fans or one-time players. My dad was also the biggest skeptic and/or critic. So, we were watching the Green Bay Packers play the Tennessee Titans. Cooper Kupp may be the best WR this season, but last year Davante Adams was on fire! #1 Wide Receiver! Adams scores a TD at the very start of the game. Great! Now I only needed 5 more TDs. Adams scores again. Huh. My dad’s face lights up. Could there be a smidgen of a chance I could win? My father starts cheering on Adams with me. Adams scores a THIRD TD!!! It wasn’t enough. At least I lose with a closer score and some dignity.
The family has dinner after the game at my parents’ house. My sister’s family is there with her three kids. My father passes away in the early hours of Monday, December 28, 2020.
Cheering on Davante Adams is my last shared experience with my father and I’ll think of him any time Davante Adams plays or is in the news. Players can definitely impact your lives.